In their endless and uncompromising quest to make sure that all Americans understand the risks of gun ownership (read: there are no risks), the NRA has just announced a partnership with the gun blog Bearing Arms, to help celebrate Domestic Violence Awareness Month which takes place every October and even rates a Presidential Proclamation issued by the guy who has finally been granted American citizenship by Donald Trump.
The NRA has been tirelessly promoting gun sales to women ever since they discovered that most of the guns that were scooped up since the Kenyan entered the White House were bought by the same old, white men. And the problem with the white-man market is that as a percentage of people living in the United States, it’s not getting any larger, which means that at a certain point gun sales will begin to lag. In fact, the most recent survey on how many Americans actually own guns revealed that less than one-quarter of U.S. adults are gun owners, which means that Gun-nut Nation’s ‘chicken in every pot’ dream of a gun in every home just isn’t coming true.
Of course the new collaboration between the NRA and Bearing Arms isn’t what people think about when the issue of domestic violence is raised. For most of us, advocating against domestic violence means making treatment options for abused persons more available, streamlining the process for seeking legal protection against abuse, and toughening sanctions against abusers who are charged and convicted of engaging in a domestic assault.
Last year and the year before that and the year before that, women constituted 20 percent of all homicide victims of whom roughly half were murdered with guns. Most killings where a gun was used grow out of domestic disputes, and many result in the injuring or killing of other family members as well. Some states make it relatively easy to disarm people involved in domestics, other states make it more difficult, and still other states have disarming laws and procedures that are so complex and so vague that usually nothing is done at all.
But if there is one consistent area when it comes to domestic abuse and guns, it has been the NRA’s opposition to disarming people involved in such affairs. On occasion, the NRA has quietly supported legislation that disarms persons accused or convicted of domestic abuse, but generally speaking, until a guy is actually convicted of beating up his wife or girlfriend, and even in some instances after being convicted, he can still hold onto his guns or petition the Court to get them returned. In some states, the same judge who issues an Order of Protection has no legal basis for issuing an order that would remove guns from the possession of the person who was told to stay away from his wife. Which means that if the guy decides to violate the order, he can show up on her doorstep with a gun.
The NRA and Bearing Arms calls this an effort to strengthen one’s ‘personal protection plan,’ and it involves getting shooting ranges to offer training discounts to individuals who are holding an ‘active’ order of protection, which means, of course, that abuse victims also have to own a gun. The new NRA-Bearing Arms program is a cynical attempt to pretend that the best response to domestic violence is for an abused spouse or girlfriend to respond with violence as well.
I am not arguing that anyone facing the threat of physical abuse should necessarily rule out any effective response, even if that response increases risk. But if a victim of domestic abuse decides to arm themselves, they should be aware that there is no credible study which shows that access to a gun is either effective or safe; to the contrary, the odds they will hurt themselves or some other unintended person is a more probable outcome if they have access to a gun. And that’s not something that Gun-nut Nation will ever understand.